I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fashion person. I just don’t get it. I watch Project Runway and think the winning looks are heinous. So when people ask me what my Fashion Week coverage plans are, I basically nod, smile, say “yes”, and then change the subject as quickly as possible. However, as little as I know about fashion (to be clear, literally nothing—half of my wardrobe consists of the same dress in different colors from the same brand, shout out to Maison Jules, which I buy exclusively at Macy’s). I will never say no to a good party. So when I was invited to a NYFW kick-off dinner, I obviously said yes.
The event was a kick-off dinner for Morgan Clifford, a New York-based coat designer who’s worked with the likes of Alice + Olivia and Calypso St. Barth. It was a seated dinner where members of the media (hi) and some celebs were in attendance. I got invited because I know the woman who ran the PR for Morgan, who just so happens to be Lindsay Hubbard from Summer House. Life tip: Befriend all the publicists you can. They have all the connections.
Aside from yours truly, notable attendees included Corinne Olympios (and her boyfriend), Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd from Dancing With The Stars.
The event was slated from 6-8pm at Jue Lan Club (a restaurant located inside the iconic Limelight Church that just so happens to be a block from my office), so I got there at five minutes to 6. Unfortunately for me, I had forgotten why the phrase “fashionably late” was invented. I was forced to network and make small talk with the other people who’d arrived on time. It was a deeply difficult experience for me, so I thank you for your support. I was helped out by one waitress who was pouring everyone literally full-to-the-brim glasses of wine and coming over to refill between sips. She was the real MVP for my social anxiety (but maybe not so much for my sobriety).
Once Corinne, Maksim, and Peta had arrived, we all sat down for dinner. I was starving, and drinking all that Sauvignon Blanc on an empty-ish stomach was starting to have an effect on me (I’d only had a greek salad, hard boiled egg, an apple, peanut butter, and a handful of chips every time I got up to get water throughout the day, so I was wasting away). The appetizers arrived—chicken satay with peanut sauce, chicken lettuce wraps, edamame dumplings, crispy rock shrimp tempura, tuna tartare with wonton chips—and it looked amazing.
But then it dawned on me. “Wait, people in fashion like, don’t stuff their faces with reckless abandon. That’s their whole thing. F*ck.” I sank back in my chair, gazing longingly at the food like it was my lover returning from war. Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” looped in my head. I had to will myself not to tear up, or throw a tantrum (I get very emotional when I’m hungry).
And then Corinne popped an edamame dumpling into her mouth, it’s like a spell was broken. We all dug in. The food was amazing. Then we started chatting. Like I said, this was my first NYFW-adjacent event, so maybe after parties are less social. Or maybe they’re more social! Who knows? Not me! But for better or for worse, we were all at this table together for the next two hours, conversation was bound to happen.
I was sitting at the head of the table—no, I don’t know how I managed that either—next to Corinne Olympios’ boyfriend, so I only heard one side of the table’s conversations. If you’re looking for DWTS gossip, you’ll have to look elsewhere, like to a group of suburban moms, which is the main demographic I imagine watches that show.
Anyway, almost immediately, someone asked Corinne about The Bachelor and her feeling on the current season of Paradise. She answered graciously and politely, but I got the sense that she was a little tired of being asked the same stuff over and over. Her boyfriend confirmed to me that it does get a little tedious. He also mentioned they’re appearing on a show to discuss the Sacha Baron Cohen incident and that Corinne just launched a lipstick line. That was all the tea I got out of them, as I had to leave early. But I mean, overall they seemed like a cute couple, and like normal people. Reality TV celebrities… they’re just like us?
I literally left right at 8 (I had another prior engagement—I know, I’m very cool), and they were just bringing out the main course. This time I actually did tear up a little. I had to tear myself away from chicken in red bean sauce, pan-seared Chilean sea bass in black bean sauce, prawns, and fried rice. But these are the sacrifices I must make for the sake of journalism.
I left the Morgan Clifford dinner with a black-and-white cookie decorated with her name, as well as a new coat. That was pretty baller, and although I will be clinging to the last remnants of summer with a death grip, I am excited to wear my coat. Overall, the NYFW dinner was way less intimidating and way more chill than I thought it was going to be. Although I will say that my one big mistake was not putting on any makeup—I’m doing this new thing called laziness where I only wear mascara and maybe lipstick. It was a grave error and the reason no photos of me at this event will ever be seen by anyone with a pulse other than myself and the event photographer. It was a major regret, but hopefully I’ll get to go to more events like this and come correct the next time.
Images: Unsplah/Vonecia Carswell; David Gordon Photography (3)